The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) announced Monday that Bluetooth technology celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2008. The technology first got off the ground in 1998, though products didn't follow for two years. Since its commercial introduction in 2000, more than 1.5 billion Bluetooth-enabled products have shipped, according to the organization.
Bluetooth is a wireless "personal area networking" technology that enables electronic devices to communicate with each other wirelessly. Bluetooth uses relatively little power and costs fairly little to implement, though it's considerably slower than Wi-Fi wireless networking, making it best suited to applications where there's a fairly limited amount of data going back and forth.
Apple has been building in Bluetooth support to its Macs for years to enable them to work with Bluetooth-equipped wireless keyboards and mice, synchronize data with cell phones and PDAs, print to Bluetooth-enabled printers and communicate with other devices.
Bluetooth has faced something of an uphill battle with other PC manufacturers, but the technology has spread like wildfire with cell phone manufacturers, who include it on many phones as a way of supporting wireless headsets. Bluetooth 2.0's increased bandwidth has also caught the eye of some multimedia product makers, who are using it to make wireless stereo headsets.
Since 2000, the Bluetooth SIG -- which qualifies Bluetooth products based on the technology's specifications -- has seen a 13-fold increase in the number of products qualified each year. The SIG itself has grown to more than 10,000 member organizations.